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Australian Jeffress edges closer to Asian Tour card

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Steven Jeffress of Australia is a step closer to securing an elusive Asian Tour card for the new season after signing for a second straight two-under-par 69 at the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage presented by Sports Authority of Thailand on Saturday.

Jeffress, a two-time winner on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, has enjoyed a superb run so far in his first attempt at the Asian Tour Qualifying School, where a 243-man field from over 30 countries will vie to finish inside top-35 and ties in an intense 90-hole battle this week.

Starting the round with a three-shot deficit, the 42-year-old Jeffress sank five birdies against a bogey and a double-bogey at the St. Andrews 2000 to grab a share of the lead on 10-under-par 274 total. He leads by one shot alongside overnight leader Sorachut Hansapiban (72) of Thailand, compatriot Maverick Antcliff (68) and Seungtaek Lee (67) of Korea.

Japan’s Shohei Hasegawa, who carded a 69, took fifth place on his own while Australian Travis Smyth, Ben Campbell of New Zealand and Minkyu Kim of Korea shared sixth place on 276 following rounds of 66, 68 and 67 respectively.

The first four rounds of the 2018 Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage was held across two courses in Rayong – the Rayong Green Valley Country Club and the St. Andrews 2000.

The 72-hole cut was set at two-over-par 286 with a total of 78 players progressing into the fifth and final round, which will be held only at the Rayong Green Valley Country Club on Sunday. The top 35 players and ties, at the conclusion of 90 holes, will be ranked accordingly for the 2018 season.

A total of 153 players, including one amateur, had earlier progressed into the third and fourth rounds after surviving the 36-hole cut-off mark which was set at four-over-par 146.